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Full text of "Byzantine Churches In Constantinople"

220                          BYZANTINE CHURCHES                        CHAP.
shortly before 1105 as the Princess Pyrisca^ a beautiful gir!3 c a plant covered with blossoms^ promising rich fruit/ to marry John Comnenus^ then heir-apparent to the crown of Alexius ComnenuSj and adorned eight years of her husband's reign by the simplicity of her tastes and her great liberality to the poor. The monastic Institutions of the city also enjoyed her favour5 and not long before her death in 1126 she assumed the veil under the name of Xen6. The foundations of the church were, probably., laid soon after her husband's accession to the throne^ and to the church she attached a monastery capable of accommodating seven hundred monks ;l a xeno-docheion, a home for aged men* and a hospital.2
But the pious and charitable lady had undertaken more than she could perform, and was obliged to turn to the emperor for sympathy and assistance. Accordingly she took him3 one day3 to see the edifice while in course of erection^ and falling suddenly at his feet, implored him with tears to complete her work. The beauty of the building and the devotion of his wife appealed so strongly to John Comnenus that he forthwith vowed to make the church and monastery the finest in the city, and altogether worthy of the Pantokrator to whom they were dedicated ;3 and so well did he keep his promises that the honour of being the founder of the church has been bestowed on him by the historian Nicetas Choniates.4
The imperial typicon or charter of the monastery/ granted in 11365 made the monastery an autonomous institution, independent of the patriarch or the prefect of the city, and exempt from taxes of every description. At the same time it was provided with vineyards and richly endowed.
According to Scarlatus Byzantius6 and the Patriarch Constantius/ a mosaic in the building portrayed the
1  Du Cange, C.P. Christ, iv. p, 81, quoting Anselm, bishop of Havelsberg, who was in Constantinople as the ambassador of Lothair the Great to the Emperor John in 1145.
2  MS. No. 85, in the Library of the Theological Seminary at Halki.
3  Synax., *3th August.
4  Pp. 66, 151.
6 MS, No. 85, in the Library or the Theological Seminary at Halki.
6 Vol. i, p. 555.                                       7 Ancient and Modern C,P. p. 69.